Helping customers understand their data

By Christopher Lyon, NTEA Director of Fleet Relations

This article was published in the June 2018 edition of NTEA News.

In today’s digital world, the possibilities seem endless, including for work trucks. Fleet managers know the importance of data and how they can leverage it to help make decisions. Sound easy? In reality, if we are hit with too much data, it may become noise. It can be so overbearing that fleet managers begin to ignore some of the most powerful tools at their disposal. This is where data experts — or, to a lesser extent, interpreters — can play a critical role.

Filtering the data
As a supplier, manufacturer or upfitter, you are not necessarily a data expert, but may be positioned as a data filter.  In the end, it’s about saving end users money while providing the best value.

Fleets have collected administrative data for years — if not decades. It generally includes basics such as annual mileage, fuel consumption, component replacement and maintenance records. While important, it doesn’t necessarily tell fleet managers more than what they already know.

Twenty years ago, onboard diagnostics were considered beyond revolutionary. Such capabilities now seem small, as today’s onboard computers and telematics tell a very different story. However, many fleet managers don’t know what they have or how to leverage it to make useable decisions.

This is where you can play a critical role. Educating fleets and helping walk them through to make data-driven decisions can have a significant impact. These decisions may involve a variety of areas, such as the front end when evaluating a new powertrain design or maintenance when assessing appropriate intervals. If done properly — with accurate information and interpretation — a data-driven decision holds its own.

Moving forward
Your company does not have to be a big data expert. Knowing what information is important to your fleet customers and making it a priority to help them understand it is the first step. Then, you can help tailor the translation of data from noise into a useable resource.

Having a connected truck and knowing how to effectively utilize the resulting data can reduce your customers’ bottom line and increase the value your company is providing.

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